Your reproductive rights are not assured. This is the message that has been made clear in a wave of attacks on both sides of the Atlantic recently. In the US, laws attempting to restrict women’s rights to abortion, to stop them accessing contraception as part of their healthcare, and even to criminalise miscarriage, have found their echoes on our own shores. The likes of Nadine Dorries, Conservative Party MP, are attempting to push back the time frame for legal abortion and religious groups like 40daysforlife have used the cover of staged ‘vigils’ to harass, intimidate and, where possible, prevent women from accessing abortion services.
Royal Holloway University Feminism Society brought to light another battle that has yet to be won completely – the right for people to access emergency contraception in a timely and respectful fashion. When women came together to share their experiences the outcome was a grim reflection of this truth. A flat denial of service was reported in a local Boots on “religious grounds”, and pharmacists and GPs with suspect motives were reported to have told women that they didn’t “really need” emergency contraception due to the time of their cycle. Almost any woman who has sought emergency contraception has a story of judgemental treatment; a lack of privacy when being questioned on shop floors, not to mention the high cost of the meds where NHS treatment is unavailable.
It is a tough problem to tackle, and one that we are inclined not to organise around due to its occasional and private nature. It fails to stir the same passion as abortion rights but the continued stigma it attaches to women, and the failure of the young and the poor in particular to readily access emergency contraception is a continued outrage. If you hear of any local places refusing emergency contraception then feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a list of pharmacies in Egham/Staines that are signed up to the Surrey scheme to provide free emergency contraception to under 25s (but, only if the participating pharmacist is on duty, so it’s not foolproof):
Boots The Chemist
Two Rivers Retail Park, Staines, TW18 4WB
Tel: 01784 455437
3 The Broadway, Kingston Rd, Staines, TW18 1AT
Tel: 01784 452813
37 High St, Stanwell, Staines, TW19 7LJ,
Tel: 01784 247013
23 Edinburgh Drive, Laleham, Staines, TW18 1PJ,
Tel: 01784 252962
229 Pooley Green Rd, Egham, TW20 8AS,
Tel: 01784 452502
165 High St, Staines, TW18 4PA,
Tel: 01784 452549
56 High St, Egham, TW20 9EX,
Tel: 01784 432325
63 Wheatsheaf lane, Staines, TW18 2PG
Tel: 01784 451731
You can also use http://www.fpa.org.uk/helpandadvice/findaclinic to find a local clinic that will give you emergency contraception for free.